Accountability, Behavior Styles, and Billions?

Behavior Styles Influence Accountability

Since about 400 AD, people have been studying, categorizing, and analyzing behavior styles for many reasons including gaining self-awareness and gaining a competitive advantage. A quick internet search yields a plethora of information about behavior styles. Consultants all over the world make their living by sharing the benefits of understanding, recognizing, and appreciating behavior styles. This blog post provides a high level overview of behavior styles from a management perspective and how behavior styles influence accountability.

Each of us has a unique style that is a blend of the four factors listed below, but typically, one of the factors dominates. As a life long student of DISC, I find people watching and searching for style clues a very interesting past time. I confess that I am currently binge-watching the Showtime TV series Billions on Netflix and I can’t resist the urge to assign Axe Capital characters to their respective behavior style category. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.

Style overview

Dominance – Managers who are extroverts and task oriented. Motto: “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.”

Influence – Managers who are extroverts and people oriented. Motto: “It’s all good! Trust me!”

Steadiness – Managers who are introverts and people oriented. Motto: “We’re all in this together.”

Compliance – Managers who are introverts and task oriented. Motto: “Quality is job one,” reminiscent of the Ford slogan.

Behavior Styles Influence Accountability

The Dominance Style Manager

  • Strength – Bottom-line, big picture thinkers who are results oriented.
  • Weakness – Lacks attention to detail, starts initiatives then hands them off for others to finish.
  • Accountability – Manager may avoid accountability issues as they occur and prefer to wait until the results are in. Unfortunately, this is a “rear-view mirror” approach.
  • Billions character: Bobby – his confident, direct, and controlling nature is typical of the dominance style.

The Influence Style Manager

  • Strength – Optimistic, fun-loving people person who is great at building relationships.
  • Weakness – Trusts indiscriminately and needs to be liked.
  • Accountability – Manager may avoid accountability issues because they fear the social rejection that comes with upsetting people.
  • Billions character: Wags – his need to be the center of attention and his unwavering trust in Bobby are typical of an influencer.

The Steadiness Style Manager

  • Strength – Steady, great listener, non-judgmental team player.
  • Weakness – The tendency to get input from everyone slows their decision-making process.
  • Accountability – Manager may avoid accountability issues so as to not cause conflict among the team. They hope that problems will resolve themselves which can actually exacerbate issues.
  • Billions character: Wendy – her calming effect on the team and non-judgmental listening are qualities shared by those with high steadiness factors.

The Compliance Style Manager

  • Strength – Self-competitive, a quality control and data-driven task manager.
  • Weakness – Analysis paralysis can wreak havoc on their decision-making process.
  • Accountability – Manager may avoid accountability issues because they are busy with the task at hand. May perceive behavioral problems or emotional conflicts as unimportant.
  • Billions character: Taylor – their precision, accuracy, and high standards are typical of one high in the compliance factor who refuses to sacrifice quality.

What does any of this have to do with the TV series Billions? A good script writer understands the value of bringing diverse styles together. The push and pull, conflict and resolution, and exchange of competing ideas make for a compelling drama.

Likewise, successful managers appreciate the push and pull that is inevitable when all of the behavior styles are represented. A behaviorally diverse team is strong, healthy, and productive. Embrace the differences, set high expectations, and hold employees accountable for results.

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